The Abecedarian has been previously published on Palette Poetry (Dec 2021). The second poem is unpublished.
Abecedarian on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
We short-circuit all such complexity by slicing time down to its barest bones.
— Edward Hallowell & John Ratey
A citadel of faceless names. A plantation of burnt worms. Bees with no hive to go. I dropped comets into lakes, spilled words I didn’t mean. Every bedtime I grieve my distance to earth, bald my shadow to chase the promised euphoria of to-do lists & calendars, till my spine falls like a brave dead tree. I take naps in graves of lost items. On the banks of veiny rivers, panic throbs like hummingbird wings, headless & without rest from the perpetual itching. Yes, I sometimes enjoy the jumanji of dopamine, the roaring between my ears. My kryptonite is the morning after – when I walk the walk of shame back into the swampy lull. Some days I am a warm bullet shell. Some days I am my own deus ex machina, prancing like a creature of many feet from now to not now. I write cocaine & snort a bank & rob a poem all at once. My husband orbits my gravity with tired patience. Better to be unsteady together. Make lemonades out of quarrels. We keep our laughter sunny side up. When the diagnostic results came in I cried a little bit. I have lost so much, beaten senseless by my own fists. In murky waters, lotus plants unbosom their hearts, pink capsules floating in clear waters. Vyvanse is the saint I didn’t know I needed. Clear-eyed, I wade through the receding water. Dear sleep, I will no longer exhume your wisdom. The ghosts in the citadel have lost their barbed tongues, yellow away in boredom. It’s morning. I break free. A zucchini hatching out of its flower. Traverse the shallow waters I have been drowning in my whole life. Leaving São Vicente After the sizzling rain, the shimmying clouds, the uncareful birds – a mosaic of dew unspools under the weather, glazed in jaded and petrichor. The chihuahua next door barks at the low-hanging sun, flutters like a dying leaf after peeing on the orange tree, eyes hoggish. Looking beyond the port's lulling waves, the world waits for me, marbled & veined & fresh like the sea. I lost my heart in the graffitied capillaries, between ligaments, to the old women who made my bread, – the prisons they tell me about. My skin taunts the dead. Ancestors everywhere. Nostalgia & horror evenly cloved. Coat-hangered. Scaffolded. Vigilant of white men and impossibly in love with one of them. Tonight, an oil spill impersonates my grandmother's moon. All our roots grip the world under. I, too, am afraid to let go. Wolfpack Contributor: Tan Tzy Jiun